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PILA Case Digest: Government of the USA v. Hon. Purganan (2002)

Government of the USA v. Hon. Purganan
GR. NO. 148571 Sept. 24 2002

Lessons: Extradition Process, Bail on Extradition, Right of Due Process and Fundamental Fairness in Extradition

Laws: Bill of Rights, PD 1069, US-Phil Extradition Treaty


    Petition is a sequel to the case “Sec. of Justice v. Hon. Lantion”.  The Secretary was ordered to furnish Mr. Jimenez copies of the extradition request and its supporting papers and to grant the latter a reasonable period within which to file a comment and supporting evidence.  But, on motion for reconsideration by the Sec. of Justice, it reversed its decision but held that the Mr. Jimenez was bereft of the right to notice and hearing during the evaluation stage of the extradition process.  On May 18, 2001, the Government of the USA, represented by the Philippine Department of Justice, filed with the RTC, the Petition for Extradition praying for the issuance of an order for his “immediate arrest” pursuant to Sec. 6 of PD 1069 in order to prevent the flight of Jimenez.  Before the RTC could act on the petition, Mr. Jimenez filed before it an “Urgent Manifestation/Ex-Parte Motion” praying for his application for an arrest warrant be set for hearing.  After the hearing, as required by the court, Mr. Jimenez submitted his Memorandum.  Therein seeking an alternative prayer that in case a warrant should issue, he be allowed to post bail in the amount of P100,000.  The court ordered the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and fixing bail for his temporary liberty at P1M in cash.  After he had surrendered his passport and posted the required cash bond, Jimenez was granted provisional liberty. 

    Government of the USA filed a petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court to set aside the order for the issuance of a warrant for his arrest and fixing bail for his temporary liberty at P1M in cash which the court deems best to take cognizance as there is still  no local jurisprudence to guide lower court.
i.    Whether or NOT Hon. Purganan acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in adopting a procedure of first hearing a potential extraditee before issuing an arrest warrant under Section 6 of PD No. 1069
ii.    Whether or NOT Hon. Purganan acted without or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in granting the prayer for bail
iii.    Whether or NOT there is a violation of due process

HELD: Petition is GRANTED. Bail bond posted is CANCELLED.  Regional Trial Court of
  Manila is directed to conduct the extradition proceedings before it.

i.    YES.

By using the phrase “if it appears,” the law further conveys that accuracy is not as
important as speed at such early stage.  From the knowledge and the material then available to it, the court is expected merely to get a good first impression or a prima facie finding sufficient to make a speedy initial determination as regards the arrest and detention of the accused.  The prima facie existence of probable cause for hearing the petition and, a priori, for issuing an arrest warrant was already evident from the Petition itself and its supporting documents.  Hence, after having already determined therefrom that a prima facie finding did exist, respondent judge gravely abused his discretion when he set the matter for hearing upon motion of Jimenez.  The silence of the Law and the Treaty leans to the more reasonable interpretation that there is no intention to punctuate with a hearing every little step in the entire proceedings.  It also bears emphasizing at this point that extradition proceedings are summary in nature.  Sending to persons sought to be extradited a notice of the request for their arrest and setting it for hearing at some future date would give them ample opportunity to prepare and execute an escape which neither the Treaty nor the Law could have intended.

    Even Section 2 of Article III of our Constitution, which is invoked by Jimenez, does not require a notice or a hearing before the issuance of a warrant of arrest.   To determine probable cause for the issuance of arrest warrants, the Constitution itself requires only the examination under oath or affirmation of complainants and the witnesses they may produce.

The Proper Procedure to “Best Serve The Ends Of Justice” In Extradition Cases
    Upon receipt of a petition for extradition and its supporting documents, the judge must study them and make, as soon as possible, a prima facie finding whether
a)    they are sufficient in form and substance
b)    they show compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law
c)    the person sought is extraditable

At his discretion, the judge may require the submission of further documentation or may personally examine the affiants and witnesses of the petitioner.  If, in spite of this study and examination, no prima facie finding is possible, the petition may be dismissed at the discretion of the judge.  On the other hand, if the presence of a prima facie case is determined, then the magistrate must immediately issue a warrant for the arrest of the extraditee, who is at the same time summoned to answer the petition and to appear at scheduled summary hearings.  Prior to the issuance of the warrant, the judge must not inform or notify the potential extraditee of the pendency of the petition, lest the latter be given the opportunity to escape and frustrate the proceedings. 

ii.    Yes.

The constitutional provision on bail on Article III, Section 13 of the Constitution, as well
as Section 4 of Rule 114 of the Rules of Court, applies only when a person has been arrested and detained for violation of Philippine criminal laws.  It does not apply to extradition proceedings, because extradition courts do not render judgments of conviction or acquittal.  Moreover, the constitutional right to bail “flows from the presumption of innocence in favor of every accused who should not be subjected to the loss of freedom as thereafter he would be entitled to acquittal, unless his guilt be proved beyond reasonable doubt.  In extradition, the presumption of innocence is not at issue.  The provision in the Constitution stating that the “right to bail shall not be impaired even when the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is suspended” finds application “only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.”  

    That the offenses for which Jimenez is sought to be extradited are bailable in the United States is not an argument to grant him one in the present case.  Extradition proceedings are separate and distinct from the trial for the offenses for which he is charged.  He should apply for bail before the courts trying the criminal cases against him, not before the extradition court.

Exceptions to the “No Bail” Rule
    Bail is not a matter of right in extradition cases.  It is subject to judicial discretion in the context of the peculiar facts of each case.  Bail may be applied for and granted as an exception, only upon a clear and convincing showing
1)    that, once granted bail, the applicant will not be a flight risk or a danger to the community; and
2)    that there exist special, humanitarian and compelling circumstances including, as a matter of reciprocity, those cited by the highest court in the requesting state when it grants provisional liberty in extradition cases therein

    Since this exception has no express or specific statutory basis, and since it is derived essentially from general principles of justice and fairness, the applicant bears the burden of proving the above two-tiered requirement with clarity, precision and emphatic forcefulness.

    It must be noted that even before private respondent ran for and won a congressional seat in Manila, it was already of public knowledge that the United States was requesting his extradition.  Therefore, his constituents were or should have been prepared for the consequences of the extradition case.  Thus, the court ruled against his claim that his election to public office is by itself a compelling reason to grant him bail.   

    Giving premium to delay by considering it as a special circumstance for the grant of bail would be tantamount to giving him the power to grant bail to himself.  It would also encourage him to stretch out and unreasonably delay the extradition proceedings even more.   Extradition proceedings should be conducted with all deliberate speed to determine compliance with the Extradition Treaty and Law; and, while safeguarding basic individual rights, to avoid the legalistic contortions,  delays and technicalities that may negate that purpose.
    That he has not yet fled from the Philippines cannot be taken to mean that he will stand his ground and still be within reach of our government if and when it matters; that is, upon the resolution of the Petition for Extradition.
iii.    NO.

    Potential extraditees are entitled to the rights to due process and to fundamental fairness.  The doctrine of right to due process and fundamental fairness does not always call for a prior opportunity to be heard.   A subsequent opportunity to be heard is enough.  He will be given full opportunity to be heard subsequently, when the extradition court hears the Petition for Extradition.  Indeed, available during the hearings on the petition and the answer is the full chance to be heard and to enjoy fundamental fairness that is compatible with the summary nature of extradition.

    It is also worth noting that before the US government requested the extradition of respondent, proceedings had already been conducted in that country.  He already had that opportunity in the requesting state; yet, instead of taking it, he ran away.

Other Doctrines:

Five Postulates of Extradition
1)    Extradition Is a Major Instrument for the Suppression of Crime

In this era of globalization, easier and faster international travel, and an expanding ring of
international crimes and criminals, we cannot afford to be an isolationist state.  We need to cooperate with other states in order to improve our chances of suppressing crime in our own country.

2)    The Requesting State Will Accord Due Process to the  Accused

By entering into an extradition treaty, the Philippines is deemed to have reposed its trust
in the reliability or soundness of the legal and judicial system of its treaty partner, as well as in the ability and the willingness of the latter to grant basic rights to the accused in the pending criminal case therein.

3)    The Proceedings Are Sui Generis

An extradition proceeding is sui generis:
a)    It is not a criminal proceeding which will call into operation all the rights of an accused as guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.  It does not involve the determination of the guilt or innocence of an accused.  His guilt or innocence will be adjudged in the court of the state where he will be extradited.
b)    An extradition proceeding is summary in nature while criminal proceedings involve a full-blown trial.
c)    In terms of the quantum of evidence to be satisfied, a criminal case requires proof “beyond reasonable doubt” for conviction while a fugitive may be ordered extradited “upon showing of the existence of a prima facie case”
d)    Unlike in a criminal case where judgment becomes executory upon being rendered final, in an extradition proceeding, our courts may adjudge an individual extraditable but the President has the final discretion to extradite him.

Extradition is merely a measure of international judicial assistance through which a person charged with or convicted of a crime is restored to a jurisdiction with the best claim to try that person.  The ultimate purpose of extradition proceedings in court is only to determine whether the extradition request complies with the Extradition Treaty, and whether the person sought is extraditable.

4)    Compliance Shall Be in Good Faith.

We are bound by pacta sunt servanda to comply in good faith with our obligations
under the Treaty.  Accordingly, the Philippines must be ready and in a position to deliver the
accused, should it be found proper

5)    There Is an Underlying Risk of Flight

Indeed, extradition hearings would not even begin, if only the accused were
willing to submit to trial in the requesting country. Prior acts of herein respondent:
a)    leaving the requesting state right before the conclusion of his indictment proceedings there; and
b)    remaining in the requested state despite learning that the requesting state is seeking his return and that the crimes he is charged with are bailable

Extradition is Essentially Executive
Extradition is essentially an executive, not a judicial, responsibility arising out of the presidential power to conduct foreign relations and to implement treaties.  Thus, the Executive Department of government has broad discretion in its duty and power of implementation.